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October 08, 2008

Can I name your baby? (plus, my craziest venture so far)

October 8. Day 100!!!

New feature, in honor of hitting triple digits: I've added ratings. I'd love to hear which askings have appeal to you, gentle reader. Bring it on!

But 100 is just the start, and so today I am asking for something that's all about new beginnings. I'm extremely curious to see how it will pan out.

I posted this message on Craigslist in Chicago, NY, San Francisco and LA.

HINT: Click on the blurry picture and it will pop up in a new window.

Gained: Don't know yet, but wouldn't it be amazing?

In other news, I'm contemplating an asking that's so convoluted and outrageous I don't know if I can pull it off. It struck me a few weeks ago that one thing I don't have, but really want, is stocks. I currently have a few paltry holdings in MBI, and one emerging market mutual fund, both of which have tanked recently. Naturally.

But I've been studying the market casually, as one does between graduate school and part time work and full time blogging, and I thought, "Wouldn't it be nice if I wrote to the CEOs of a bunch of companies and asked them to give me one stock?"

I could make two pitches. The first is cocky and risky, and one I'm not crazy about: that it's a mutual investment, since once I get a PhD and start making lots of money, I'll keep investing and become their advocate. Tell people in fifty years, "Yes, long before Google turned the moon into a web browser, it has always been an intrepid, outside the box company. Back in 2008, they actually gifted me one stock, as part of an experiment I was doing." The problem is that I'd be forever beholden, both privately and in the public eye. Say I want to work for their competitor, or want to write an article about a certain bank one day. It would be a major conflict of interest. Also, would anyone just give me a stock?

The second approach is much more tempting: receiving while giving. What I'd do is ask for a stock, but with the following arrangemenet: In five years (perhaps; exact span TBD), I will cash in the stock, keep half to pay off my student loans and give half to a charity.

A few problems arise there, as well: how easy is it for a company to gift stock to an individual? Do I need to set up a charity for that initial step? how do I choose the final destination charity? What if the company I ask don't approve of the Gates Foundation because its CEO happens to like malaria?

Any ideas? thoughts? suggestions?

Would you do it? How would you do it?

Would you see me doing it?

What about the logistics??

Do you think comes across as opportunism masquerading as philanthropy, or is it actually a cool way to give and get?
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